Steven grew up in Lawrence, Kansas and attended Lawrence High School. He graduated in 1995 with Honors from the University of Kansas with a BA Philosophy and promptly landed a job painting houses. He has also worked as a paperboy, grocery store clerk and bagger, a fry cook, shovel and Uni-loader operator, a construction laborer, tour guide (twice), maintenance man, conflict mediator, academic adviser, adjunct instructor, and professor.

Steven completed his MFA in Fiction at Colorado State University (2002) and worked as Academic Adviser and Conflict Mediator at CSU until 2005. After the publication of his first book, he taught for a year as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island.

In the Fall of 2006 Steven and his family moved to Fresno, California, and they've been there ever since. Steven teaches in the residential MFA Program at Fresno State. In 2007 he co-founded the acclaimed literary magazine, The Normal School and currently serves as a Nonfiction Editor for them. He also teaches and mentors students for low-residency MFA Programs at Sierra Nevada College and Carlow University.